by Pepe Escobar, posted with the author’s permission and widely cross-posted
2023 starts with collective NATO in Absolutely Freak Out Mode as Russian Defense Minister Shoigu announces that Russian Navy frigate Admiral Gorshkov is now on tour – complete with a set of Mr. Zircon’s hypersonic business cards.
The business tour will encompass the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean, and of course include the Mediterranean, the Roman Empire’s former Mare Nostrum. Mr. Zircon on the prowl has absolutely nothing to do with the war in Ukraine: it’s a sign of what happens next when it comes to frying much bigger fishes than a bunch of Kiev psychos.
The end of 2022 did seal the frying of the Big Ukraine Negotiation Fish. It has now been served on a hot plate – and fully digested. Moscow has made it painfully clear there’s no reason whatsoever to trust the “non-agreement capable” declining superpower.
So even taxi drivers in Dacca are now betting on when the much- vaunted “winter offensive” starts, and how far will it go. General Armageddon’s path ahead is clear: all-out demilitarization and de-electrification on steroids, complete with grinding up masses of Ukrainians at the lowest possible cost to the Russian Armed Forces
in Donbass until Kiev psychos beg for mercy. Or not.
Another big fried fish on a hot plate at the end of 2022 was the 2014 Minsk Agreement. The cook was no other than former chancellor Merkel (“an attempt to buy time for Ukraine”). Implied is the not exactly smokin’ gun: the strategy of the Straussian/neo-con and neoliberal-con combo in charge of US foreign policy, from the beginning, was to unleash a Forever War, by proxy, against Russia.
Merkel may have been up to something telling the Russians, in their face, that she lied like crypto-Soprano Mike Pompeo, then she lied again and again, for years. That’s not embarrassing for Moscow, but for Berlin: yet another graphic demonstration of total vassalage to the Empire.
The response by the contemporary embodiment of Mercury, Russian Foreign Ministry’s Maria Zakharova, was equally intriguing: Merkel’s confession could be used as a specific reason – and evidence – for a tribunal judging Western politicians responsible for provoking the Russia-Ukraine proxy war.
No one will obviously confirm it on the record. But all this could be part of an evolving, secret Russia-Germany deal in the making, leading to Germany restoring at least some of its sovereignty.
Time to fry NATO fish
Meanwhile, deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev, visibly relishing his totally unplugged incarnation, expanded on the Fried Negotiation Fish saga. “Last warning to all nations”, as he framed it: “there can be no business with the Anglo-Saxon world [because] it is a thief, a swindler, a card-sharp that could do anything….From now on we will do without them until a new generation of sensible politicians comes to power… There is nobody in the West we could deal with about anything for any reason.”
Medvedev, significantly, recited more or less the same script, in person, to Xi Jinping in Beijing, days before the zoom to end all zooms – between Xi and Putin – that worked as a sort of informal closure of 2022, with the Russia-China strategic partnership perfectly in synch.
On the war front, General Armageddon’s new – offensive – groove is bound to lead in the next few months to an undisputable fact on the ground: a partition between a dysfunctional black hole or rump Ukraine on the west, and Novorossiya in the east.
Even the IMF is now reluctant to throw extra funds into the black hole. Kiev’s 2023 budget has an – unrealistic – $36 billion deficit. Half of the budget is military-related. The real deficit in 2022 was running at about $5 billion a month – and will inevitably balloon.
Tymofiy Mylovanov, a professor at the Kiev School of Economics, came up with a howler: the IMF is worried about Ukraine’s “debt sustainability”. He added, “if even the IMF is worried, imagine what private investors are thinking”. There will be no “investment” in rump Ukraine. Multinational vultures will grab land for nothing and whatever puny productive assets may remain.
Arguably the biggest fish to be fried in 2023 is the myth of NATO. Every serious military analyst, few Americans included, knows that the Russian Army and military industrial complex represents a superior system than what existed at the end of the USSR, and far superior to that of the US and the rest of NATO today.
The Mackinder-style final blow to a possible alliance between Germany (EU), Russia and China – which is what is really behind the US proxy war in Ukraine – is not proceeding according to the Straussian wet dream.
Saddam Hussein, former imperial vassal, was regime-changed because he wanted to bypass the petrodollar. Now we have the inevitable rise of the petroyuan – “in three to five years”, as Xi Jinping announced in Riyadh: you just can’t prevent it with Shock’n Awe on Beijing.
In 2008, Russia embarked on a massive rebuilding of missile forces and a 14-year plan to modernize land-based armed forces. Mr. Zircon presenting his hypersonic business card across the Mare Nostrum is just a small part of the Big Picture.
The myth of US power
The CIA abandoned Afghanistan in a humiliating retreat – even ditching the heroin ratline – just to relocate to Ukraine and continue playing the same old broken records. The CIA is behind the ongoing sabotage of Russian infrastructure – in tandem with MI6 and others. Sooner or later there will be blowback.
Few people – including CIA operatives – may know that New York City, for instance, may be destroyed with a single move: blowing up the George Washington bridge. The city can’t be supplied with food and most of its requirements without the bridge. The New York City electrical grid can be destroyed by knocking out the central controls; putting it back together could take a year.
Even trespassed by infinite layers of fog of war, the current situation in Ukraine is still a skirmish. The real war has not even started yet. It might – soon.
Apart from Ukraine and Poland there is no NATO force worth mentioning. Germany has a risible two-day supply of ammunition. Turkey will not send a single soldier to fight Russians in Ukraine.
Out of 80,000 US troops stationed in Europe, only 10% are weaponized. Recently 20,000 were added, not a big deal. If the Americans activated their troops in Europe – something rather ridiculous in itself – they would not have any place to land supplies or reinforcements. All airports and seaports would be destroyed by Russian hypersonic missiles in a matter of minutes – in continental Europe as well as the UK.
In addition, all fuel centers such as Rotterdam for oil and natural gas would be destroyed, as well as all military installations, including top American bases in Europe: Grafenwoehr, Hohenfels, Ramstein, Baumholder, Vilseck, Spangdahlem, and Wiesbaden in Germany (for the Army and Air Force); Aviano Air Base in Italy; Lajes Air Base in Portugal’s Azores islands; Naval Station Rota in Spain; Incirlik Air Base in Turkey; and Royal Air Force stations Lakenheath and Mildenhall in the UK.
All fighter jets and bombers would be destroyed – after they land or while landed: there would be no place to land except on the autobahn, where they would be sitting ducks.
Patriot missiles are worthless – as the whole Global South saw in Saudi Arabia when they tried to knock out Houthi missiles coming from Yemen. Israel’s Iron Dome can’t even knock out all primitive missiles coming from Gaza.
US military power is the supreme myth of the fish to be fried variety. Essentially they hide behind proxies – as the Ukraine Armed Forces. US forces are worthless except in turkey shoots as in Iraq in 1991 and 2003, against a disabled opponent in the middle of the desert with no air cover. And never forget how NATO was completely humiliated by the Taliban.
The final breaking point
2022 ended an era: the final breaking point of the “rules-based international order” established after the fall of the USSR.
The Empire entered Desperation Row, throwing everything and the kitchen sink – proxy war on Ukraine, AUKUS, Taiwan hysteria – to dismantle the set-up they created way back in 1991.
Globalization’s rollback is being implemented by the Empire itself. That ranges from stealing the EU energy market from Russia so the hapless vassals buy ultra-expensive US energy to smashing the entire semiconductor supply chain, forcibly rebuilding it around itself to “isolate” China.
The NATO vs. Russia war in Ukraine is just a cog in the wheel of the New Great Game. For the Global South, what really matters is how Eurasia – and beyond – are coordinating their integration process, from BRI to the BRICS+ expansion, from the SCO to the INSTC, from Opec+ to the Greater Eurasia Partnership.
We’re back to what the world looked like in 1914, or before 1939, only in a limited sense. There’s a plethora of nations struggling to expand their influence, but all of them are betting on multipolarity, or “peaceful modernization”, as Xi Jinping coined it, and not Forever Wars: China, Russia, India, Iran, Indonesia and others.
So bye bye 1991-2022. The hard work starts now. Welcome to the New Great Game on crack.
The Combined West knows it cannot win a conventional war with Russia.
That leaves it with the only other way where they may stand a chance- use nuclear weapons.
These are dangerous times. We are not out of the woods yet.
Russia stopped the global OIL and resources theft by the US/NATO and their ‘ proxy ‘ terrorists – which is really the ONLY reason that the Rothschilds funded NATO exists !
Compounding this is the fact that the American Terrorist State has made enemies of the major hydrocarbon producing countries who are increasingly demanding to be paid in their own regional currencies outside the Rothschilds $US and the Rothschilds EURO dollar !
Face it – the $US and Europe paying for hydrocarbons in sh!t they have just printed up means that they were actually getting their hydrocarbons for FREE !
There is NO way out of this !
Humiliation is the death of a school yard bully and it is also the death of Empire’s
The American Terrorist State cannot risk humiliation – they can’t even build a hypersonic weapon while Russia’s Sarmat travels at 20 MACH – Khinzal missile travels at 12 MACH and can penetrate 1.5 miles underground !!
The ship launched Kalibr and Zircon missiles can travel at about 8 MACH – the American Terrorist State Empire has NO chance !
They will never go to war openly with Russia because they would be annihilated !!
Forget MAD – Russia would win with very little effort if the US is ever stupid enough to engage them !
“penetrate 1.5 miles underground”? Um, how?
Are you suggesting that Russia would emerge from an all out nuclear war victorious and barely scratched? If you are, I must ask how can you possibly know that? Even if one side or the other comes out “on top,” it’s people will almost certainly suffer massively for generations.
Is there such a thing as “winning” a nuclear war? I don’t believe there could ever be. What would our country be like after the big one? https://folkpotpourri.com/a-time-of-unimaginable-sorrow-is-upon-us/
Well what a ride it’s been. If you watched Hollywood. If you watched the potholes and the ever increasing wealth of criminals a different ride.
I suppose they will convert their jets to batteries and weep on each others shoulders for a while. It will be confusing to know who is what without a pronoun sign or will their implanted chips tell them?
It’s understandable they gambled the money we gave them for our pensions and resent our being alive. After all how stupid to put up with all this nonsense for so long. When a guy with Ike’s credentials tells you who the enemy is and no one heeds the call. The disrespectful ways they dispose of their once loyal minions.
It would be cruel to let them sit in jail and wonder. Is there a God, what awaits me if there is a judgement? Anyone who has a soul and money needs to file for amnesty soon. It will be too late for those to jump on band wagon once it starts filling up. Massive wealth is now an irrevocable guilty confession.
So yeah fly the nukes, still comfy, cozy in your bunker, what does God have planned for me?
Pepe Escobar. When only the best will do. Great stuff, Pepe. But you made me wonder, surely the great and powerful RAND has war-gamed NYC. Now that Russia can reach out and touch someone from far, far away, conventionally, no nukes needed, it all seems perfectly plausible. And Vladimir can retort, “whaddya gonna do about it?”. We hit him, Vladimir hits us. RAND and the CIA MIGHT want to read Pepe and let their collective imagination run wild.
Hopefully the Russian military has understood the revelations that came out in the US press last week. About the US since Obama’s time operating a sabotage campaign inside the RF itself. Basically saying that some of those industrial “accidents” inside Russia we’ve heard about over the last years ,just maybe,aren’t really accidents after all. Now with the frigate Admiral Gorshkov going on tour around the world .I see that ship as a major target for another “accident”. The Russian navy and FSB needs to be especially active in guarding for any type of sabotage directed at that ship.
I never liked the George Washington Bridge, anyway!
this comment has been flagged as of little/no value (possibly troll) by the saker
While most of what Mr. Escobar says here is true, there is one gaping hole.
In the entire 2022 Special Military Operation, we did not witness the Russian military execute a well planned combined arms offensive. Instead it had been run piecemeal.
For the past six months the majority of the fighting has been done by the Wagner mercenaries.
11 months of SMO have passed and the front line is still only 1 mile Northwest of Donetsk, and the city continues to be pounded by NATO artillery.
Yes, Russia has wonderful missiles and missile defenses. But the ability of the Russian Army to take and hold ground against NATO has not been demonstrated outside of Mariupol.
Russia needs to up their ground game.
Furthermore, instead of going straight for Kiev last February and decapitating the serpent, Russia now has a ridiculously long front line, along which it has failed to make any significant gains since Mariupol.
I must conclude that Russia’s Army was very rusty last year. They need to get serious about winning.
By that rationale, if the USA wants to reduce crime, the police should kill everybody. Putin said clearly that he didn’t want to kill all the Ukrainians, just the baddoes. Why do so many Ukrainians want to murder Russians, and even Ukrainian Russian-speakers?
@ David Sant on January 10, 2023 · at 2:08 pm EST/EDT
“…I must conclude that Russia’s Army was very rusty last year. They need to get serious about winning.
Well, Mr. Sant, it is about time we relay your so accurate “conclusions” to the Russian High Command, they might certainly benefit from your insights into their poor performance. Pepe is a failure as an armchair general, no doubt, and the Russian army is made up of wannabe soldiers playing wargames, top to bottom.
It is my belief that arrogance and stupidity are two wings of the same dumb bird, and your comment is the
best example of it. On another note, I tend to believe you’re here to troll, given your statements show an absolute lack of understanding in military matters. You may be here for a quick drive-by trolling exercise.
Answering you will require a lecture for which I don’t have the patience nor the time. However, there is a need to make a point, not for your armchair general pretenses, but for readers that might come and get confused with your tripe.
By March’s end, 2022, the Ukrainian army was a broken entity, it could not function anymore as a military body. FYI, the brunt of that attack on Ukraine was done by the Russian army. The rest is history in the making, the ebb and flow of a battlefield that has been expanded from Ukraine to US/NATO/Collective West.
I will not waste my time explaining Kupiansk/Kherson/Donetsk, enough has been written about it in this venue and others, and the best of it is being written with the blood of Ukrainians and Russians, military and civilians, as I write.
Enough to let you know your drive-by drivel is insulting to all of those who sacrificed their lives fighting the nazi scum, Russians, Chechens, Buryats, nationals from many different Russian republics, Lugansk, Donetsk, and citizens from many other countries. Fortunately your lies are being debunked with every town, every fortification, every trench the Allied army is taken away from the nazis.
The dogs bark, the caravan goes on…
They’ve been busy grinding up the Ukrainian army. Territory comes later.